Ahead of the February 1 premiere - which will see all 13 episodes of the first season made available exclusively on Netflix - Fincher spoke to journalists about his involvement with the project and its "naughty" star Kevin Spacey.
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How did you come to be involved with House of Cards?
"I had been looking for a project - movies are more and more the purview of thrills and 'theme park ride' kind of stimulus. More and more, characters are streamlined to become part of the essential narrative necessity - they're not so much people any more.
"There's no doubt that in the last 20 years, Tony Soprano [from HBO series The Sopranos] became a very important cultural icon, because he was given the time to contradict things he was adamant that he was about at the beginning. It was his evolution over many hours.
"I think that's a really valuable thing for human beings to have - to be able to check in with other human beings, to be able to see characters in drama as something more than just facilitators of exposition. And so I wanted to try something that was long-form."
Were you aware of the original BBC series?
"I remember my parents had seen Ian Richardson in the original and had told me about it, but I had never seen it. So I watched it and it's fairly undeniable that it's great television. We had to translate it - I don't know Parliamentary politics vs. what goes on under the [Capitol] dome - and Beau came in and laid it out for us. And we thought, 'Holy s**t, that works' - then we got Kevin and Robin, and the rest is history."
What impact does the US setting have on the new House of Cards?
"I think that the British stiff-upper lip and the values of facade - who you're supposed to be and how you're supposed to behave - all goes out the f**king window when you're talking about Americans, because they wear their venality almost as a badge of honour. [Movie producer] Joel Silver once said, 'I'd stab myself in the back to make a deal' and meant it! It is kind of defining of who he is."
[Above: David Fincher with the cast of 'House of Cards' at the show's London premiere]
Do you think House of Cards is a cynical take on the world of politics?
"People say that [it's cynical] - if you believe that you're to be presented as an audience with how people *should* behave, then yeah, you could look at this as cynical. If you're OK with the idea that you're going to watch people as they often behave… because it's stylised, but it's fairly realistic. There's nothing than isn't human about Francis Underwood - he believed in a system where if you did the right things and backed the right guy - you will be rewarded. He's very human, he's very real… he's very vulnerable.
"It's far more cynical to me in movies where you create all kinds of ways for your hero to be persecuted and tortured, so that you can justify his radical and violent response - that to me is far more cynical than anything that you see in this. Calling it "cynical" seems a bit like a chicken-s**t reaction to seeing stuff that happens all the time.
"If you're spoon-feeding the audience a vision of the world as it should be... there's room for that and there's plenty of that [already]. But that's not what this is. It's not a lesson in how to behave - it's more of a glimpse behind the curtain of how you affect change. That's ultimately what makes Francis Underwood compelling as a character - his ability to get s**t done."
[Above: Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in 'House of Cards']
Why did you decide to have Francis directly address the audience?
"That's [taken from] the British television show - and I love it because I love the idea of taking you under his wing and saying, 'Wanna see how this works?' I think that's an interesting dramatic conceit - you're able to cover a lot of ground when someone can directly give you exposition.
"A voiceover is a very different thing - the character is not on the spot in the same way as someone giving a direct address. And how you use the direct address is scary, because it could become Ferris Bueller very quickly!"
Why do you think the viewer is drawn to Francis even though he's so devious?
"Because he's capable. But he's also ingratiating - he's a Southern smoothie, he's a charmer, he's a snake oil salesman."
And what made Kevin Spacey the right man for the part?
"There's a number of reasons, but I think Kevin is a political animal - he understands perception, how to ingratiate. He's also just naughty! It's like, 'I'm doing this to you and there's nothing you can do about it' - He just has that twinkle in his eye!"
House of Cards will be available to watch in full exclusively on Netflix from February 1.